A COUPLE who met at a bereavement group in Herefordshire have finally overcome coronavirus lockdown restrictions to get married, but they very nearly didn't meet.

The newlyweds finally tied the knot on December 19 after four attempts thwarted by lockdown.

The pair were first introduced during a bereavement lunch at St Michael's Hospice, just a few months after Allan Jones had lost wife Maureen.

"It was my first time there and I walked into this room and couldn't see anywhere to sit," said Mr Jones.

"I was about to leave when a lady called Anne said there was a seat next to her and her friend."

That friend was Linda and the pair immediately hit it off.

"We'd lost our partners at about the same time," said Mrs Jones.

"Anne came along to support me as my best friend. I think it's fair to say though I didn't expect to meet my future husband."

He later invited his wife-to-be out and they enjoyed walks and pub lunches together before "just suddenly becoming a couple".

They rented a place together in Much Marcle – moving in two days into lockdown.


"That's quite a good test of whether your relationship is going to work," Mrs Jones added.

Not only did it work, they were soon planning a wedding, although Allan's proposal didn't quite go to plan.

"We were enjoying coffee one morning when I asked Linda whether she would marry me.

"She didn't have time to reply because, with impeccable timing, my son rang. I couldn't stop laughing, so he knew something was up.

"I told him I'd ring him back, ended the call, and Linda said 'yes'. It was a wonderful moment."

Hereford Times: The wedding cake on the couple's wedding day in December The wedding cake on the couple's wedding day in December

After four rearranged wedding dates due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, they finally exchanged vows during an intimate ceremony at Ledbury's Feathers Hotel on December 19.

Their future plans rest on selling their respective properties and moving to the Pembrokeshire coast.

"We love the coastal walks, the sea and the scenery, it's fantastic," he added.

Their story could barely have been believable just a couple of years earlier.

At the time, his wife Maureen regularly attended day services groups at St Michael's.

He said: "She wasn't very well but loved going there. The staff were just brilliant. It was her GP who recommended going to the hospice each week, and she really looked forward to it."


In May 2018, Maureen died at Hereford County Hospital, aged 76. Following her death, St Michael's Hospice continued to help her widower.

"A listening support volunteer from the hospice called round. She really helped me cope with the bereavement.

"I also joined the striders and strollers walking group at Queenswood, organised by St Michael's, and was able to chat with others going through a similar experience."

For Linda Jones, husband Tony had developed stomach cancer, and died at around the same time as Maureen.

"He was doing well with his chemotherapy but in March 2018 he began to deteriorate and the following month was admitted to the hospice's inpatient wing in Bartestree for symptom management," she said.

"He died in the May – around the same time Allan lost Maureen."

Both remain full of praise for the help and support St Michael's gave to their partners – and themselves.

"I know neither Allan nor myself will ever forget everything they did for us," she added.